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Implementing a broadcast system for HD compliance
Fight Network is Canada’s only TV channel dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports, including fights, fighters, fight news, and fight lifestyle. The channel is carried nationally on all major cable, satellite and telco systems in Canada. Fight Network is available on multiple platforms including TV, web, mobile, and radio. Fight Network also operates MMA Expo, Canada’s premier fan experience dedicated to mixed martial arts.
Fight Network recently decided to move its broadcast operations from 2844 Dundas Street in Toronto into the downtown core of Liberty Village, a decision motivated by their desire to upgrade their infrastructure and become fully compliant HD Broadcaster.
Applied Electronics was chosen by Fight Network to assist with the technical build of their new state-of-the-art audio and video broadcast facility. The new HD facility for Fight Network consists of a Master Control, Ingest, Central Equipment Room, Studio, Studio Control, audio Control, Voice-Over Booths, Graphics Room, and Edit Suites. On-site broadcast system build and installation began in early March and concluded in late May, with the network broadcasting in full HD at that time.
Achieving Fight Network’s goals with innovative broadcast systems
The goals for Fight Network were to improve their signal quality, to ensure the broadcast system could be expanded in the future, and to re-work existing manual workflows into automated processes.
Fight Network’s challenges were timeline, integration and quality. As they were under a strict lease requirement to exit their building by a set date, they were faced with a hard on-air deadline date. This resulted in having to move, set-up, wire, commission, test, and hand over a fully operational broadcast facility in less than a month from the start of the build.
Integration was a challenge because existing legacy broadcasting equipment needed to be integrated into the build and the station had to remain on the air, full time, during the entire move. Quality was a final challenge! As Fight Network material originates on a variety of media and in a variety of formats, it was imperative that a system is put in place to accommodate all media types, throughout the system.
Due to extremely tight timelines, Applied Electronics facilitated the project build in two phases: Phase I consisted of building the infrastructure and systems for on-air; and Phase II consisted of building the studio production facilities and systems.
In Phase I, new Evertz Master Control technology was utilized so it was imperative that Applied Electronics worked toward tightly aligning the Fight Network, Evertz, and Applied Electronics project teams.
Applied Electronics constructed a multi-functional studio space with Panasonic Cameras, integrated 14 Adobe edit systems into the operation, and built state-of-the-art studio and audio control rooms utilizing a Ross Carbonite switcher, Expression Character Generator and SMS clip server. As with most new facilities built by Applied Electronics, 3G cabling infrastructure was integrated and all router and studio cross-points were taken to patch for flexibility.
As of June 2012, Fight Network began broadcasting in HD! All internal broadcast equipment components have been upgraded to enable seamless HD signal flow through studio, studio control, editing, voice over, and master control systems. Most importantly, Fight Network’s workflow has evolved from a mostly manual ingest, edit, and playout structure to a much more automated system. Video standards have improved due to the new broadcast converters, encoders, distribution routing, and quality control systems in use. The new ‘Fight Network’ is on air, on budget, and on track to become the next major force in specialty networks.
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